Sunday, September 30, 2018


Well that was a busy week!  I think we need a vacation.  On Tuesday we drove up to Campbell River and took fish and chips lunch to Cousin Bill at the care home where he is in pallative care.  We had a nice visit and we all enjoyed our lunch.  We stopped off in Courtenay and Aileen settled up for her new CPAP machine. 
On Wednesday we were back up to the Courtenay area and met up with Aileen's sister Anne and John for a day of geocaching.  We went in to Courtenay for lunch at Union Street Grill and later supper at Boston Pizza.  We had a great day wandering around and visiting.
On Thursday my brother in law John R and I took my RZR and went geocaching.  When I got home I cut Charlie's back lawn which had grown a lot with the recent rains.  After supper and Aileen's walk, we went up to John and Sue's for a game of 5 Crowns that Sue won.
On Friday, we finally made contact with our long time friends John and Alethea.  They lived in Penticton for many years and John and I met through the regional camera club council.  They have relocated to Gabriola Island, a 20 minute ferry ride from Nanaimo.  We went over and shared a lunch and had a great visit.  They are a really nice couple and we enjoyed seeing them again.  They invited us to take the motor home over in the spring and stay a while and that sounds quite appealing. 
Yesterday, Charlie and I went ATVing again with John R and his son in law Dave.  We had intended returning to the same area we were in last Sunday but the gate was locked, blocking us out.  However we did find another route to explore and even though the clouds got progressively worse as the day wore on, we had a great ride.  I was pretty pleased with some of my photos.
This morning we packed up and hit the road.  We have moved down to Richard and Robin's near Sidney.  We had a mostly rainy drive all the way with some areas of fog.  After getting set up and some lunch in our bellies, we took Georgia and went to Butchart Gardens in the drizzle.  Actually, it was better for photography than a sunny day.
Tomorrow we have lunch with friend Bev D who has now moved back to Victoria then Aileen has her eye appointment.  We are hoping to move off the island and up to Penticton on Thursday.  We'll see after tomorrow's appointment.

Newcastle Island across from Nanaimo

Looking back at Nanaimo while on the ferry to Gabriola Island

Gabriola Island

Coming in to Nanaimo from Vancouver

Heading out from Nanaimo to Vancouver

In Sutton-Maffeo Park Nanaimo with Protection Island in the background

Back up in the mountains, Wild Blackberry vines


A bit of fall colour on the ridge

Mountain Ash and Blueberries in fall colour


Charlie and I climbed up on the ridge above where we ran out of road

A pretty little forest glade

Looking over the other side from on top

This Fireweed was late blooming

Mountain Ash on the left and Blueberry bushes

Butchart Gardens in the rain.  They supply umbrellas but all those umbrellas make for dangerous walking as you end up in pretty closes proximity at times.  You fear for your eyes!

Did I say it was wet?

Monday, September 24, 2018


After all the rain of the last few days, seeing some better weather forecast for Sunday spurred us to get the ATVs out.  My brother Charlie, brother in law John R and I went up the Cameron River valley and after driving out to the end at Labour Day Lake, worked our way back checking out several side roads.  The rain hadn't given up yet out in the mountains so all the huckleberry and rhododendron bushes were well laden with water.   In this region, we have at least four different varieties of blueberry/huckleberry bushes.  I ended up with wet feet even though I had waterproof boots on, the water came in at the ankle and soaked down my socks.  As the day progressed, we did get snatches of sunshine and milder temperatures.
Last Tuesday we attended a neat concert at the Port Theatre in Nanaimo.  It was called the Louisiana Hayride and was based on the radio show of that name that ran from 1948 until 1961.  The cast put on a pretty amazing performance highlighting many of the popular singers of our youth.  The creator and one of the performers lived in Salmon Arm when we were there and we knew them casually.  Lori always was very kind in commenting on my photos on display at the local fall fair.
This is our last week at Charlie and Sheila's and it is shaping up to be a busy one.  The calendar is filling up.  The plan is to move down to Sidney to Richard and Robin's on Sunday as Aileen has another eye appointment on Monday.   If that goes okay, we hope to leave the island by October 4 and move up to Penticton for a few days before crossing the border and heading south.  Lots of ifs there this year!

The reds and purples are various huckleberry family members and the golds are white rhododendron, also known as mountain misery. 

The gold underneath is a False Hellebore

White Rhododendron

Lots of colour in the logging slash

Mostly Fireweed

Well drenched Fireweed flowers

The rain is bringing out the fungi

There were lots of these King Gentian flowers in the grass alongside the lake

Labour Day Lake where we walked down through the trees and chest high huckleberries to stand on the narrow beach and eat our lunch

Alaskan Blueberry

Oval-leaved Blueberry

This would be a cone harvester.  It is suspended by a helicopter then lowered over the top of a cedar tree.  When it is lifted up, the four sharp blades cut the outer part of the branches off which then fall into the containing ring.  When it is lowered to the ground, the tiny cones are picked off either by hand or using some type of rake.

Yellow Cedar cones, less than half an inch across

In the dark forest I used flash to illuminate the mushroom

The biggest waterfall we saw.  Yes, that's me in the picture and yes, I made it all the way there in nine seconds.  Pretty good since I was encumbered by rain gear and heavy clothes!

After attaining the height of land, we were able to see far to the west.  That tiny spot of water is the Alberni Inlet , a long narrow part of the Pacific Ocean that comes miles inland.  In 1964 a tidal wave from an earthquake in Alaska did considerable damage at the head of the inlet in Port Alberni.  

Up in the sub-alpine at just over 1300 meters (about 4300 feet) there was lots of colour and many of these tiny ponds

Dwarf Blueberry is all the shrubby ones on the flat.  They are the ones that held so much moisture that my socks soaked up. 

A pretty little glade

Fireweed about done

Rhododendron and Huckleberry

Hellebore also called Corn Lily

Another little waterfall beside the road